Bryce Harper could not have written a better script. The superstar came to Philadelphia and dreamt of days like Sunday. 

Trailing by a run in the eighth, Harper deposited a 99-mph sinker from San Diego reliever Robert Suarez into the seats in left-center field. The blast sent a soaked sellout crowd of 45,485 fans at Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy and ultimately lifted the Phillies past the Padres in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, 4-3, to win the National League pennant. 

"Yeah, I think we all think in our backyards it's the World Series, right? Every moment, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, 3-2 count, best pitcher on the mound in the World Series. So you dream about it, but also you dream about that next step," Harper said. 

"You dream about that next one. So I'm looking forward to that next one. I think we're all looking forward to that next one. This is great. To be able to be the last National League team standing right now. The Philadelphia Phillies, we're here. We're ready to go in that next round. We've got four more. We're going to enjoy this as a team, as a group, but we've got four more."

Harper was rightfully named Most Valuable Player of the series after hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a pair of homers and five RBI. 

The Phillies will open the World Series on Friday in Houston or New York before returning to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Oct. 31. 

Following a disastrous start to the season and the firing of Joe Girardi on June 3, manager Rob Thomson took over a team that was seven games below .500. Similar to Harper, his postseason too is unfolding like a Hollywood script. 

"It's special personally, but there are so many guys in this club who have never been to even the playoffs," Thomson said. "J.T. [Realmuto], all our young guys, all the guys that have been in this organization. It's just amazing. So I'm so happy for them as well. I'm probably more happy for them than I am anybody else. It's just an incredible feeling. I'm happy. We'll celebrate tonight, but we get back to work tomorrow."

Rhys Hoskins hit his fifth homer of the postseason in the third inning, a two-run blast that scored Kyle Schwarber, who reached base with a walk. It marked his third two-run homer within 24 hours after he delivered a pair of two-run shots in Game 4. The blast gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Juan Soto answered for the Padres though with a solo homer in the fourth. 

Zack Wheeler continued his impressive postseason run, surrendering just one run on two hits over six brilliant innings. Through four postseason starts, he's posted a 1.07 ERA to go along with a 0.51 WHIP.

Wheeler opened the seventh inning but surrendered a leadoff single to Jake Cronenworth. Things took a turn against the Phillies quickly as Seranthony Dominguez struggled with his command and grip of the wet baseball, uncorking three wild pitches in the frame while allowing pinch-runner Jose Azocar to cross the plate with the go-ahead run. 

Citizens Bank Park was deflated, but J.T. Realmuto opened the eighth with a single before Harper induced pandemonium. 

"We've called him The Showman for a reason," Zach Eflin said with a smile. "Every time he comes up in a big spot, he gets a knock or something like that. He's a showman and that's why we signed him and the city loves him."

Ranger Suarez recorded the final two outs and stranded two runners to record the save.  

Including 2022, the Phillies have reached the World Series eight times over the franchise's 140-year history, the last time in 2009 in a loss to the Yankees. The franchise last won the World Series in 2008 behind stars such as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels. 

It appears the page has turned; a new generation of baseball fans across Philadelphia now have a core to call their own. 

"These guys have overcome a lot of things, one being a slow start, a lot of expectations, but they just kept going," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. "That's why I always talk about resiliency and how tough these guys are -- physically, mentally, emotionally. It's just such a great group to be around."
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